Effective Time Management – The Basics

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    Michelle
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    Learning good time management is the key to success in any career but perhaps more so for a project manager. As any project manager knows it is easy to fill your schedule with events and tasks but just as easy to be overwhelmed by all the work that has to be done. So don’t forget to follow the basics of time management because they can make the difference between a calm, organised project manager and a stressed, disorganised one.

     

    It doesn’t matter what kind of projects you manage, simple local ones or complex global ones, the more effective your time management, the more you and your project will benefit. Studying project management methods will teach you how to manage the budget, schedule and scope of a project but it’s up to you to ensure you manage your own time effectively.

    Managing Project Schedule

    Organise Your Workspace

     

    Keeping your workspace organised may seem like an impossible task at times but, once you integrate it into your daily routine, it will quickly become second nature. Spend about ten minutes, or however long it takes, every day just before you start work to organise your workspace. Clear your desk, put away old correspondence and other documents and throw away any rubbish. If you exclusively work using your computer and the internet, and rarely use paper documents the same rules apply, just ensure your surroundings are as clean tidy as possible – a tidy workspace really does lead to a tidy mind.

    Establish a Routine

     

    Getting into a full daily working routine will help you to work much more efficiently. Having a time table and a list of priorities is essential. Dedicate the first part of your working day to getting the most important things done. Getting urgent work out of the way as soon as possible will help to reduce stress and enable you to get work done more efficiently. Even if your project is small enough to ensure that you do not have a great number of deadlines, it is still important that you establish a routine and a sense of urgency when it comes to getting work done. If you don’t, there is always a temptation to delay and procrastinate.

    Have Realistic Goals

     

    One of the common reasons why people fail to manage projects efficiently is that they spend too much time thinking about the processes required to complete a task rather than actually doing the task. Set goals for yourself regularly (separate from the ones you set with your team) and strive to reach them. Motivate yourself by setting goals and thinking about the rewards that come with them. Set your goals conservatively at first and increase them as you grow more confident.

    Use the Right Tools

     

    Effective time management is also very much about using the right set of tools. We live in a world where technology can help us more and more when it comes to saving time. If you regularly use just a simple calendar (on your phone, for example) try upgrading to a more efficient solution like an organisation app or try integrating your calendar into your email system. Spending some time now to find the best set of tools for your working environment will be an investment in your projects’ success.

     

    Avoid Distractions

     

    Distractions are always an issue that will affect your productivity, especially if you’re prone to checking your emails or social media sites too often. They will stop you from getting important work done and constantly tempt you to become distracted. Instead carefully plan times during your day when you will check emails or social media. If you spend a good portion of the day working in front of a computer, then you must ensure you turn off any automatic notifications informing you of a new email of a new message.

     

     

    These tips can help you ensure you effectively time manage your work life and much of this advice is included in knowledge-based project management courses such as APMP or PMP. Project management is a demanding job, bringing with it many challenges and stressful events. The key is to apply basic time management strategies to maintain control over how your time is used and make the most of every minute – no matter what you are doing.

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